“We have been trying to make a central workers’ database for a long time now. You [garment owners] have to do it now,” said M Atiqul Islam, president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA).
“I repeat, it is a must. Otherwise, the BGMEA will not provide any service to your factory,” he said, while setting a deadline of August 30 for the Ashulia-based factories. The BGMEA has around 300 registered factories in Ashulia.
Islam’s comments came at the inauguration of a training programme for the mid-level management of factories, IT personnel and human resource professionals, at the BGMEA Bhaban yesterday.
The database will be prepared in association with Tiger IT and Systech Digital Ltd by taking finger prints of workers.
“It is a wonderful system of record-keeping. Once the worker registers, he/she will be given a unique ID, which will be valid at all BGMEA factories.”
He said there is no exact data at present of the number of skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled workers employed in the industry.
“Even we do not know how many women workers are there in the industry. We felt that preparing a database has become obligatory — for the country’s best interests.”
BGMEA will gradually extend the scheme to Mirpur, Narayanganj and Chittagong soon, he added.
Rajiuddin Ahmed Raju, minister for labour and employment, welcomed the initiative as it will help in prompt identification of missing workers.
“The government could not calculate the exact number of workers who were missing after the Tazreen fire and Rana Plaza collapse due to the absence of a central database. Now, we would be able to, with just one click.”
The minister said the garment sector is now facing a “conspiracy” both from the local and international front, while calling for a concerted effort from the owners, workers and mid-level managers to save the industry.
Israfil Alam MP, chairman of the parliamentary standing committee on the labour and employment ministry, also spoke.
The BGMEA currently has 5,500 member factories, of which 3,600 are in operation.
Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association
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